Bi-Weekly COVID-19 Update – May 26, 2020

How SPR’s The Flag Shop is Supporting the Community During COVID-19

The Flag Shop is a local business that has been at 15507 Stony Plain Road since 1990. We spoke to the owner of The Flag Shop, Phyllis Bright to see how the pandemic has affected the shop and to learn more about their Healthcare Heroes initiative! 

“We bought it in 1994, we were looking for a business and this one looked like an interesting one,” Bright tells us. 

The Flag Shop is part of a franchise that is headquartered in Vancouver, and we are told it has proven to be an interesting and fun business to run. Employees get to meet people from all around the world looking for flags. 

While the business does sell flags from locations all over the globe, they also do custom work. The shop does soft signage (printing on fabric), corporate flags, table cloths, street banners, as well as flag poles from 3″ to 100″, crests, windsocks, and more! What makes The Flag Shop so unique is that much of their product including Alberta and Canada flags and their custom work comes in as raw goods on rolls. The sewing department then cuts, sews and finishes the product on site! 

“This way we can ensure that things are done correctly and well,” states Bright, “We take a lot of pride in providing good quality products.” 

While the store does sell a limited number of products that are made offshore, most products are made in Canada. 

When the pandemic hit, The Flag Shop immediately stopped allowing customers in the shop, and on March 20, 2020 they temporarily closed their doors. The store’s sales were down 80%. 

“April, May and June are what we call the Christmas season in the flag industry, but not this year,” Bright tells us, “We are lucky in that our franchise has a great web order system, so that was helpful. 

Currently, The Flag Shop is closed to allowing people in the shop, but they are happy to do phone, email or web orders, and ship orders or arrange for curbside pickup. One of the reasons for these restrictions is that they have so much fabric (flags), that it is difficult to keep everything sanitized with customers in store. The store is currently looking at ways to accomodate people who come in, but since most of their business goes out by courrier, it is not a huge impact. 

The Flag Shop currently has a great initiative going that involves their Healthcare Heroes flag. The flag came about by the owner of The Flag Shop in Nova Scotia, Dr. Deb Hartlen, RN. While so many people have been keeping society going – truck drivers, grocery workers, first responders, The Flag Shops wanted to do something to honour the people working on the frontlines and are keeping people healthy. So, Dr. Hartlen designed the Healthcare Heroes flag. The blue in the flag represents code blue emergency as well as the scrubs often worn by staff, the stethoscope represents care and the heart and beat are representative of the compassion and competence of appreciation and gratitude of those receiving care. 25% of gross sales will be donated to the Edmonton Community Rapid Response Fund for up to $1,000. After that, 25% of gross sales will be donated to the Edmonton Food Bank.

To order a Healthcare Heroes flag or to contact The Flag Shop: 

Call: 780-484-5850

Email: edmonton@flagshop.com

Website:
https://edmonton.flagshop.com/location.php


New Tool Available for Commercial Rent Feedback

The Alberta government is listening to entrepreneurs and landlords to ensure they are doing everything they can to keep businesses open and Albertans working. 

Tenants and landlords can fill out a survey to help gauge any challenges that they may be experiencing while working together to develop a payment schedule, paying their rent, or meeting other financial obligations during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

You can access the survey here: 
https://www.alberta.ca/commercial-tenancy-support-feedback.aspx

Alberta has also joined other provinces, the territories and federal government in a program to help small businesses pay rent. The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program will help give certainty to small businesses and relieve some of the financial stress businesses are facing. The program began accepting applications on May 25 and is administered by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation. 

You can apply for CECRA here: 
https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/finance-and-investing/covid19-cecra-small-business


Business Resilience Service (BRS) 

Canada launched a new and free small business hotline called the Business Resilience Service (BRS) which will support the smallest and most vulnerable business owners. It will be available over the next 4 weeks and is run by advisors who can provide tailored financial advice to entrepreneurs who have an accountant with the goal to help them weather the pandemic and reopening. The hotline will run in partnership with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. It is also for charities and non-profits. You can call 1=866-989-1080 and it is available 7 days a weeks from 8am to 8pm (ET). 

More info here:
https://www.canadianbusinessresiliencenetwork.ca/brs/


The Canadian Chamber of Commerce – Relief Fund

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has partnered with Salesforce to launch the Canadian Business Resilience Network Small Business Relief Fund to offer $10,000 grants to 62 small Canadian businesses who have been operating for several years and are experiencing challenges.

The application will open June 1 and close June 12. Key eligibility criteria includes having between 2-50 employees, in business for at least 2 years as of March 1, 2020 and have an annual revenue of $150,000 – $5,000,000 CAD. 

More info here:
https://www.canadianbusinessresiliencenetwork.ca/smallbusinessrelieffund/


Federal Government Business Support Link 

To help Canadians and Canadian businesses navigate the number of COVID-19 programs available, the government has developed two tools, one for individuals and one for businesses. This tool allows users to quickly find programs they may qualify for by answering a few simple questions. 

Visit the business support tool here: 
https://innovation.ised-isde.canada.ca/s/?language=en

Visit the individual support tool here:
https://covid-benefits.alpha.canada.ca/en/start 


AGLC Update for Restaurants and Bars 

AGLC posted an update regarding opening your restaurant, bar, pub, café, and taproom. 

Information for this update can be found here:
https://aglc.ca/covid-19

If you have further questions: 

AGLC Inspections: inspections.mailbox@aglc.ca 

BizConnect – Complying with public health orders and relaunch stages – bizconnect@gov.ab.ca 

AHS – community.engagement@AHS.ca


Expand Your Patio & Sidewalk Space for Free!

The rules around temporary patios, sidewalk cafés, and outdoor retail expansions are relaxed, so you can create more space for your customers in alignment with Alberta Health Services (AHS) guidelines. 

Until the end of 2020, you have the option to expand your patio on your retail space by following a set of guidelines and signing a declaration form. 

If you are interested in taking advantage of this free expansion, it is important that you reach out the Stony Plain Road & Area BIA at stonyplainbrz@gmail.com to let us know that you are interested and what your would like to have done before you submit your application. 

For more information and to apply click here:
https://www.edmonton.ca/business_economy/temporary-outdoor-patios-sidewalk-cafes-and-retail-space.aspx?utm_source=virtualaddress&utm_campaign=temporarypatios


Expanded Eligibility For the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) 

The government has announced it was opening the criteria used by businesses in calculating their CEBA eligibility. To qualify criteria, applicants with payroll lower than $20,000 need: 

– A business operating account at a participating financial institution 

– A Canada Revenue Agency business number, and to have filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return

– Eligible non-deferrable expenses between $40,000 and $1.5 million. Eligible non-deferrable expenses could include costs such as rent, property taxes, utilities and insurance.

Expenses will be subject to verification and audit by the Government of Canada. 

More information here:
https://pm.gc.ca/en/news/news-releases/2020/05/19/prime-minister-announces-expansion-support-workers-and-small


Last Chance to Enter Our Social Media Contest! 

Head over to our social media accounts to enter our contest where you can win a  gift card to any Stony Plain Road & Area restaurant! Don’t forget to share with customers! 

The contest closes on Wednesday May 27, 2020 at 11:59 PM (MTD) and a winner will be chosen the following day.